Use Caution When the Sun Shines!
Summer is on its way, even here in Washington where 75 degrees is considered hot weather. Along with the sunshine and the beautiful blue skies comes a silent threat to our dogs…heatstroke. As loving, considerate pet owners we need to be aware of the temperatures, in our back yards, in our cars and even in our houses. If we pay attention and are cautious when bringing our dogs along to run errands or leaving them home on a hot day, then we could save their lives.
Have you ever gotten into your car on a cool, breezy day and had to take your coat off because the sunshine’s heat was trapped inside the vehicle making it uncomfortably warm? Even if it’s not very warm outside, the sun can cause the temperature in a car to rise rapidly, even if the windows are cracked. NewScientist.com reads, “They found that, regardless of outside air temperature, the car heated up at a similar rate – gaining 80% of its final temperature within 30 minutes. Cars that started out comfortable 22°C, for example, rocketed to over 47°C after 60 minutes in the sun. And keeping the windows open a crack hardly slowed the rise at all.” Those temperatures in Fahrenheit are 71.6 degrees rising to 116 degrees in that 60 minutes, with the windows cracked. You don’t need to be gone the entire hour for your cars temperature to get to a dangerous level. Dogs don’t have sweat glands all over their bodies like we do and they get rid of heat by panting, which isn’t very efficient. So it is not easy for them to release excess heat. So it is our responsibility to keep them safe by ensuring we don’t leave them in a parked car when it’s too warm. This also includes inside our houses without air conditioning, or tied up in the backyard without shade and water.
Being able to recognize the signs of heatstroke are important because immediate action needs to be taken to save your dog’s life. Signs of heat stroke are a temperature over 104 degrees, excessive panting, dry gums or nose, dark red gums, unwillingness to move or walk, disorientation or dizziness and collapse. If their temperature reaches over 106 degrees then you are looking at an emergency. PetEducation.com says this about treating signs of heatstroke, “Remove the dog from the hot area immediately. Prior to taking him to your veterinarian, lower his temperature by wetting him thoroughly with cool water (for very small dogs, use lukewarm water), then increase air movement around him with a fan. CAUTION: Using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. Cooling too quickly and especially allowing his body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions.” After you get your dog to a safe temperature, take them to the veterinarian. There could be complications or other issues, even if he/she seems to be recovering.
If you see a dog in a dangerous situation, stuck in a hot car or with no shade in a backyard, call Animal Control. It could save their life and the owner would likely be grateful. You can also get fliers to leave on cars at this great website I found called Mydogiscool.com. This is a great resource, whether you are trying to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving your pet in the car or if you just want to get tips on keeping your pet safe in the summer time. We all want to have a great summer, so just be aware of the hazards that you and your pet could encounter, and your enjoyment of the warm sunshine should stay incident free!
NewScientist.com – http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7631
Another Dog Shocked in Seattle
Fo those in the Seattle area, please check out the Komo News 4 story on dogs being shocked by faulty metal plates near light posts: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/120436774.html?
Pit Bulls; Menace or Mush
There are many passionate opinions that can be found in the world concerning Pit Bulls. The American Pit Bull Terrier is a powerful, athletic dog. We know their reputation comes from dog fighting and the media’s portrayal of them and the hype about attacks of other dogs and people. And as a result of this, there is breed specific legislation, insurance denials, and fear from the general public. But can we take one breed, or type of dog and funnel all the fear and blame towards them? I am not so sure we can.
Personally, I have met thousands of dogs, in many different environments. I’ve been bitten, in the face on separate occasions, by a mini schnauzer and a Chesapeake Bay retriever. And I have met plenty of Pit Bulls. But I’d have to say the incident that stands out in my mind was when my basketball shorts were pulled down by an aggressive Chihuahua who was trying to bite me. Sure, he couldn’t have done much damage, but it just shows that any dog can be aggressive when not properly trained and socialized. The intimidating look of the Pit Bull combined with their strength and tenacity are what make them seem so much more dangerous. Pitbulls.Org has an article that addresses whether Pit Bulls are dangerous and one statement says, “As most dog behaviorists and trainers will tell you, a dog is almost 100% a product of it’s owner and the training it receives.” So you can have a powerful dog, which was trained with patience and authority, who can easily share your family’s home. Or you can have a little dog that was spoiled and never given a leader, who bites anyone and everyone. The spotlight should be on the dog owners. Any large dog could be a menace under the right, or should I say wrong, influence.
DogChannel.com says about the American Pit Bull Terrier, “The dogs must be kept firmly in control; they might not go looking for trouble, but they won’t back down from it either. Early training and socialization result in a calm, loving dog…” I believe this could be said of most other large breeds of dogs as well. Pit Bulls, like any other large breed dog, need responsible owners, who are willing to invest time, money and a lot of effort into sculpting their dog into a model citizen. It is the advocates, owners, breeders and friends of the Pit Bull who are slowly making a difference in these dogs’ lives and in the future of the breed. They make the highest effort to change the public’s perception, and it is constantly undermined by the media. Saveabull.com reminds us, “The inexperienced owner, inattentive owner and abusive owner are the reason Pit Bulls continue to be portrayed in a negative light within our media outlets.”
Despite their powerful, muscular body, big jaws and athletic ability, these dogs don’t deserve their reputation as vicious, unpredictable, or even as a guard dog. Ask any experienced, responsible Pit Bull owner and they will tell you that their Pit is most likely to give a burglar all your finest jewelry in exchange for a belly rub. These dogs are loyal, loving and people pleasers. They just need to be in the hands of the right people.